Folding Chairs by Tom Loeser (1987-89)
Courtesy Museum of Craft and Design Folding Chairs by Tom Loeser (1987-89)

The first exhibition of the new year at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco will be "Tom Loeser: Please Please Please," honoring the work of the Wisconsin-based artist. The show is organized in partnership with the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and will also feature a site-specific installation by local artist collective, t.w.five.

The exhibition is set to include about 20 individual pieces by the artist that, through the use of unconventional and experimental forms and materials, challenge the way people perceive and interact with everyday furniture. "The works, which reimagine what furniture can be, are presented in an immersive installation that exhibition-goers can activate: visitors can sit, tumble and roll various objects that both invite and structure social interaction," according to a museum press release.

Dig 23 by Tom Loeser (2015)
Courtesy Museum of Craft and Design Dig 23 by Tom Loeser (2015)

Loeser is head of the woodworking and furniture design division in the University of Wisconsin, Madison's art department and also runs his local eponymous studio. The seasoned artist has been experimenting with the inversion of traditional furniture forms since the 1980s, when he created his Folding Chairs series (1987-1989). These polychromatic seats function as four-legged chairs when assembled, and wall art when flattened into a rectilinear plane. Loeser went on to create numerous other multi-functional pieces of furniture over the past few decades, including rotary-action benches, rocking chairs for two, and swiveling chests—the latter of which will appear in the exhibition.

Katy by Tom Loeser (2016)
Courtesy Museum of Craft and Design Katy by Tom Loeser (2016)

Also included in the show are pieces from Loeser's Handle series, which incorporate antique tool parts as functional aspects of each furniture piece. One such work is Dig 23, a wooden bench lined with 23 shovel handles of varying sizes that serve as unconventional back- and armrests. Another piece, Katy, utilizes the shovel heads as the legs of a bench, illustrating Loeser's use of different parts of the same object in various pieces.

LA/Chicago/New York by Tom Loeser (2016)
Courtesy Museum of Craft and Design LA/Chicago/New York by Tom Loeser (2016)

“In making this exhibition, we have been inspired by Loeser’s way of turning furniture upside-down and inside-out," said guest curator Glenn Adamson in the press release. "This is partly about understanding the medium’s full potential, and partly about sheer enjoyment. It’s a show that children and adults alike will love.” The show will run from Jan. 20 through May 20.